How to Train and Diet During Ramadan/Fasting Month

By in
10 comments
So, Ramadan (fasting month) this year will be on 11th August for the Muslims. And because of that, I received several enquiries regarding how to train and diet during this challenging month.Great! Would love to blog about it! But, you see, the thing is… I’m not Muslim. And I don’t know anything about fasting and how to make the best out of it.

So I asked several top Malay bodybuilders from both Malaysia and Singapore about what they do during Ramadan. And here’s their take on the matter.

Farhan Rahmad

NUS Muscle and Fitness War 2009 – Tertiary above 170cm – Runner-Up 

What do you eat when you break fast during fasting period?

I usually break fast with a few pieces of dates and a protein shake. Dates contain simple carbs and are a good source for quick glycogen replenishment. Whey protein is also a quick-release protein, which is essential for breaking fast after a whole day of starving your muscles of protein. One hour later, I will eat my solid meal e.g. half a chicken with potatoes. 

Do you train during the fasting period? If you do, what sort of training?

Yes, I train during the fasting period. To retain my size, I try to go heavy, but with minimal number of exercises. Since my caloric intake is much lower compared to the rest of the year, I would avoid high-intensity workouts during this period. 

What supplements are helpful for you when you fast?

I take the same supplements during fasting period. 

Is there anything you do differently during the fasting period compared to other times of the year?

I usually sleep slightly later during the fasting period to make time for two more meals, apart from the pre-dawn meal. 

Sam Adnan

Mr Kuala Lumpur 2010 – Most Muscular Award“To be honest bro, during fasting month I don’t weight train at all or take any form of supplement. I just do cardio for just 45 minutes a day and enjoy all the food during fasting month. After Hari Raya then I start my training and normal routine.”

Firdaus bin Zainal

Singapore National Bodybuilding Championships 2010 – Men’s Under-75kg Champion 

What do you eat when you break fast during fasting period?

I eat lots of dates upon breaking fast because it contains potassium thus it distributes water faster to the body. I also take lots of complex carbs to fill out the depleted muscle stores. Come night time I eat and eat. Basically my night becomes day for the whole month. 

Do you train during fasting period? If you do, what sort of training?

I train during the night, an hour or so after breaking fast. The first week of fasting I tend to stick to my normal routine, as heavy as I can go, then halfway through the month I’ll do high reps. That’s when my body’s starting to get weaker. But throughout the whole month of Ramadan, in my experience I’m usually able to maintain my weight or at most lose maybe a kilogramme or two. 

What supplements are helpful for you when you fast?

Lots of protein shakes and mass gainers for me. ZMA is a MUST! 

Is there anything you do different during fasting period compared to other times of the year?

The only different thing that I do is the time I workout and the type of training halfway through the month. That’s about it. Stick to the basics, you won’t go wrong! 😉 

Nur Fauzi

NUS Muscle and Fitness War 2019 – Tertiary below 170cm – 2nd Runner-Up 

What do you eat when you break fast during fasting period?

Its usually home-cooked food, i.e. white rice with Malay dishes, or I’ll just eat the food that I’ve been craving for the day. 

Do you train during fasting period? If you do, what sort of training?

Yes. Training an hour before breaking fast or I’ll train at night sometimes. Low or moderate intensity training. Light to moderate weights depending on the energy level of the day. 

What supplements are helpful for you when you fast?

Glutamine & sustained-released protein. 

Is there anything you do differently during fasting period compared to other times of the year?

Everything goes on as per usual. Except that I’ll limit myself to less rigorous activities so that I don’t tire myself out during the day. 

Shahanizar Bin Johar

HomeTeamNS Strongman Challenge 2010 – Bodybuilding, Closed Category – Champion 

What do you eat when you break fast during fasting period?

As you know during fasting period, the time we can eat is about 7pm-5.30am. So for me, when I have my first meal (break my fast) at 7pm I’ll take simple carbs and fast-digesting protein. In this case I’ll take a mass gainer with relatively high sugar content. Then I’ll wait 30-45 minutes and workout after that. Throughout the breaking fast hours I’ll just eat as normal. Obviously my weight will drop no matter what because calorie count is a lot less. My average loss per year for fasting month is 4-5kg. 

Do you train during fasting period? If you do, what sort of training?

As for workouts, I’ve tried experimenting many kinds of workouts in many years during fasting months. E.g. High reps with moderate weights, heavy for low reps, supersets, etc. and found out that what works best for me is normal straight sets, but heavy for 6-8reps. Cause when I tried high reps, it didn’t even maintain muscle size. As we all know heavy is the way to go, even just to maintain our muscle mass. Supersets are way too tiring for someone who has not eaten for 12 hours straight. As for the number of exercises maybe it’s 1-2 set less than normal days. For example, on normal days I’ll perform 5 sets of 10-12 reps of bench press but during fasting month I’ll do 8-10 reps for 3 sets only. Of cause during my workout my favourite supplement to take is instantized BCAA like Scivation Xtend and MRM Reload. 

What supplements are helpful for you when you fast?

Currently I’m taking Magnum Quattro and Dymatize Elite 12-hour protein. I also take Glutamine and BCAA or regular aminos to minimize my muscle loss during this month. 

Fairuz So’od

Singapore National Bodybuilding Championships 2010 – Men’s Under-60kg ChampionFirst of all what I write here is solely based on my own beliefs/experience and perspective on bodybuilding and fasting.

Everyone knows fasting is one of the best ways to detox, lose weight and simply giving the body a break it deserves. But it is a lot more to spiritual healing, cleansing the mind and re-educating it to be strong again through this act of remembrance. You can observe 3 common types of people during fasting month – the cranky short-tempered one, the lazy sleep-on it one and the cool strong one.

With our bodies going through such a process, it depends mostly on our minds and how we apply it to bodybuilding or in this case body maintenance. I believe a lot of things are achievable when you have that will power, make it or break it, fasting or not. This is how I train all the time, how I live – with my mind.

What do you eat when you break fast during fasting period?

I eat everything what the common people categorize as junk fatty food like fast food and the usual Malay food – with lots of gravy. Because you live once, be happy even if it means you’re gonna be a little fat. Screw the media on saying what’s beautiful and what’s not. 

Do you train during fasting period? If you do, what sort of training?

I do train but only after I break my fast. Scientifically speaking training will be mainly for maintenance and muscle retention as fasting puts you in such a catabolic and delicate state that you’d get injured quite easily. Give the body a break. The situation would be totally different if you’re trying to build mass or preparing for competition. 

What supplements are helpful for you when you fast?

I stick to MHP Up Your Mass as it contains high carbs and most of the repairing ingredients I need like glutamine and BCAAs. I take it during training and right before I begin fasting in the day. And not to forget the most important of all, lots of water. 

Is there anything you do differently during the fasting period compared to other times of the year?

As I did mention it would be totally different if you’re trying to build mass as what we all are during off-season. Other times of the year there will be lots of toxic and fats into the body. Something I wouldn’t do during fasting is high intensity training. During fasting month, I’d be focusing on stretching the fascia as much as I can on my lagging body parts to further improve on my symmetry.When you’re fasting and training, yes you should keep your mind strong and calm but there will always be that grey area between will power and science. So my advice to share here is to stick to bodybuilding in other times of the year, let fasting month be only for body maintenance. Good luck my Muslim brothers and all who fasts for whatever reasons you have out there.

So there you have it, my Muslim readers! Yes, some of these answers are contradicting. But then, you have to consider your goals and remember, don’t take everything in extreme terms. There’s always a perfect “middle” that works best for different individuals. Thank you to everyone who has helped me with this article. And to everyone who will be fasting in August, all the best in maintaining and keeping your body looking fabodylous! 

10 comments on “How to Train and Diet During Ramadan/Fasting Month”

    • Anonymous
    • August 5, 2011
    Reply

    thankyou very much alot of help big amount of info god bless man thanks

    • Anonymous
    • May 24, 2011
    Reply

    Hi, My name is Tahir,

    Saya peminat blog kamu then this blog inspire me to know about health. For fasting in August, i really2 thanks for your information. Good luck at Mount Everest. Keep it up.

    • Anonymous
    • March 10, 2011
    Reply

    so powerful~

    • Anonymous
    • August 22, 2010
    Reply

    awesome article!! =D

    • Anonymous
    • August 3, 2010
    Reply

    thats the issue, cant find any other muslim powerlifters.. haha..thanks tho.

    • Fabby
    • August 3, 2010
    Reply

    anon: You're welcomed. Well, I've personally not tried T-Bol and E-Bol but since both of them are non-hormonal testosterone boosters, there should be no harm in taking them. Do refer to someone who is specifically into powerlifting for more specific advise. All the best in your lifting goals!

    • Anonymous
    • August 3, 2010
    Reply

    im a powerlifter and i did some reading and found out testosterone levels drop alot during fasting month and im intending to try t-bol + e-bol during fasting month to keep myself still at good strength levels for training. is there any harm in this?

    great post by the way. not much info out there for fasting month gym rats 🙂

    • Fabby
    • August 2, 2010
    Reply

    Haha. Both of you are welcomed! 😀

    • Anonymous
    • August 2, 2010
    Reply

    Dude…TQVM for this info.
    Appreciate it 🙂

    – zEn –

    • Aizan Suhaira
    • August 1, 2010
    Reply

    This is a great compilation of information. Very timely, too. Thanks a bunch!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *